High Schools notebook

Mater Academy hires Valdes as football coach



Hialeah Gardens Mater Academy hired Homestead offensive coordinator Javi Valdes as its new football coach Tuesday.

Valdes was the offensive coordinator at Homestead this past season, working with former coach Patrick Burrows. The prior season, he worked in the same role with Burrows at Miami Southridge.

Valdes also coached at Miami Belen Jesuit and spent six seasons as the offensive coordinator at Miami Archbishop Carroll with then-coach Jorge Zagales.

Valdes takes over a Lions squad that went 6-3 last year as an independent. Mater Academy will compete in District 16-7A this coming season along with American, Goleman, Hialeah-Miami Lakes, Miami Springs, Mourning and Westland Hialeah.

“It’s a great opportunity and a chance to put my own stamp on a program,” Valdes said. “Working with [Zagales] and [Burrows] has really prepared me to take this step and try to take Mater Academy football to the next level.”


Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest announced it has hired George Harris as its new boys’ lacrosse coach.

Harris, a graduate of Ithaca College, spent the past eight years coaching Division III Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, leading them to the NCAA tournament in 2010 and 2011. Harris was also an assistant coach at Harvard, Cornell and Colgate Universities and was head coach at Skidmore College.

“We are thrilled to have George join us here at Pine Crest,” Pine Crest athletic director Keith Flynn said. “He has tremendous experience and an obvious love of the game, and most importantly, a genuine passion for teaching the game and mentoring student-athletes.”


Auburn will land one of the nation’s top sprinters, South Broward’s Khalil Henderson, the Class 4A 200-meter state champion, when he signs Thursday.

Henderson was considered a talented but raw project entering his freshman season but blossomed into a state contender under Washington Dix, U.S. Olympian Walter Dix’s father, and Bulldogs coach Willie Jones.

“Kahlil came in with an unorthodox running style that we had to change up but he always had that back-end speed like Walter Dix, the ability to catch other kids,’’ Jones said. “He is self-determined, a leader with a great work ethic.”

A state runner-up as a junior, Henderson finally silenced questions about running through the tape consistently by clocking a U.S. No. 1 and school-record 21.01 to win the BCAA 200 title.

Henderson took that momentum into the postseason to earn victories at the district and regional meets before winning the state title in 21.10.



• Miami Braddock girls’ volleyball player and senior Jessica Sanchez signed with Ave Maria University.

Brito Miami pitcher Richie Sotolongo signed with Point Park (Pa.) University. Sotolongo was an All-Dade Class 4A-2A first-team selection.

Miami St. Brendan pitcher Matthew Diaz has signed with New York Tech.

Read more Miami-Dade High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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